One of the many musical treasures at Rouse Hill Estate is the ‘Australian Album’ for 1857, published by JR Clarke. It was the third and most accomplished music album dedicated to Australian composition in the 1850s and an expensive production. The pristine copy owned by the Rouse family is bound in red cloth with gilt decorated tooling, and the pages of music and illustrated scenes were engraved in Sydney. Unlike some of the other scores in the collection, this book’s immaculate state suggests that its demanding contents may have been too difficult for its original owner.
The ‘Australian Album’ provides a snapshot of the colonial concert scene with most of the pieces provided by performing musicians who had toured or settled in Australia by the 1850s, and includes French piano virtuoso Edouard Desiree Boulanger, pianist William Stanley, harpist Stephen Marsh, and locally raised pianist and composer Frederic Ellard. We have chosen ‘Australian Flowers, impromptu no. 2 for piano’ from the album by Hungarian virtuoso violinist Miska Hauser for this House Music at Your House contribution. Hauser toured Australia between 1854 and 1858 and two of his publications were published in the ‘Australian album’ along with his portrait. So how ‘Australian’ is Hauser’s composition? These publications certainly reflect an Australian pride in local cultural pursuits and achievement, and we’ll leave the last word to English journalist, Frank Fowler, who touches on this question in his introduction to these musical works:
‘They are all new–all colonial. Here–in this city–they were played, printed, and published. True, some of the composers are foreigners; but still this book is as much an Australian production as a cluster of grapes from the German vineyards at Kissing Point. We can send the work home as a specimen of what we can do out here at Botany Bay – as an index of our education, refinement, art-feeling.' Frank Fowler, preface to the ‘Australian Album’, Sydney: Clarke, 1857.
Watch the performance
Listen to James Doig perform ‘Australian Flowers’ at Vaucluse House, Sydney, and then have a go yourself! There are few clues to the musical tastes of the Wentworth family at Vaucluse House in the 19th century, so we have chosen this piece to help imagine the soundscape at an historic house contemporary with Rouse Hill Estate. We have also provided a link to the film ‘Sweet Noise’ which features James discussing his approach to historical music making at Vaucluse House, Sydney. This is the only available recording of this piece so we’ve provided links to other pieces by Miska Hauser and some of William Stanley’s ‘The Rose Bay Quadrilles’. Why not help us share more versions with the world.
Listen to more examples:
None of these examples use the tune of our original composition, but we have found some other works by Miska Hauser and a selection from ‘The Rose Bay Quadrilles’ by William Stanley.
- Miska Hauser: Cradle Song Op. 11 No. 2
- Duo AccordA ~ Der Traum, Miska Hauser
- Hauser's 2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 11: 2nd Mvmt. Chanson Berceau
- Stanley, Sculthorpe: The Rose Bay Quadrilles - 1. Con brio
- Stanley, Sculthorpe: The Rose Bay Quadrilles - 2. Allegretto
- Stanley, Sculthorpe: The Rose Bay Quadrilles - 3. Grazioso
Share your musical or creative response
We invite you to share your response with us, and we’ll share the best responses across our website and social media. We want to highlight the ways in which music making at home is for everyone, by everyone – just as it has always been. The more ‘homely’ and amateur your recordings are, the better!
Make your version in any style or format you like – perform it straight or turn it into blues, country, rap, hip-hop, slam poetry, K-pop, Bollywood or any other style; rearrange it for different instruments, voices or electronics; sing it, play it, dance it, write about it, photograph it or paint it.
Share on Facebook or Instagram
Upload your video, or photo, picture, or written response of your response to your own Facebook or Instagram and tag us with @sydlivmus #SLMhousemusic
By tagging Sydney Living Museums on social media you agree for your work to be possibly shared across SLM’s website, Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Share via Youtube or Soundcloud
Upload your recording to your own Youtube or Soundcloud and share with us by completing the below form and provide links to the recording.
Please note: if submission is by someone aged under 16 years, a parent or guardian must complete the below form.
Share your version
James performs regularly as an instrumentalist and singer with professional and semi-professional ensembles. He sings oratorio, opera and lieder, and also works as a cantor, singing chant and sacred polyphony.